AEMA - Adult education made accesible

Newsletter Issue 3, May 2016

AEMA - Adult education made accesible
AEMA - Adult education made accesible

Project description

Not everyone has equal access to adult education”. The AEMA Network, consisting of 12 organisations from 11 European countries, aims to change this, by developing a shared network and quality framework on accessibility issues in adult education provision. The network, funded with support from the Grundtvig programme of the European Commission, will reach out to people with disabilities, accessibility experts, disability organisations, Governmental organisations, funding bodies and Adult Education providers, with the overall aim of increasing the accessibility, participation, transparency and quality of Adult Education in Europe.

Highlighted news

AEMA launches new web portal and Maturity Matrix

This 19 May will see the AEMA Network achieve one of its key milestones with the launch of its new web portal. The launch was planned in coordination and celebration of Global Accessibilty Day, taking place on the same date.

Visitors to the portal will be able to use the final version of the AEMA Maturity Matrix. This tool enables adult education providers to assess their level of accessibility, showing how their organisation rates for people with disabilities. AEMA partners have been developing the tool for over a year.

The idea was to develop a tool that would be available to and easy to use by any organisation wishing to carry out a self review, and the Maturity Matrix achieves this aim.

It evaluates organisations based on carefully selected accessibility criteria, and also includes a “Competency Catalogue”. The AEMA Maturity Matrix is organised in six areas of evaluation, and organisations are rated on a scale of five levels.

The six areas are:

• Developing positive attitudes and values towards adult learners with disabilities;
• Providing an accessible environment for learning;
• Providing an accessible digital learning environment for learning;
• Planning accessible learning;
• Supporting accessible learning;
• Communicating and public relation.

The five levels are:

• Aware
• Exploring
• Developing
• Integrated
• Transformative

Additionnaly, the experts on accessibility will be able to use the portal to make a own profile and to show their competencies in the field of accessibility for adult education providers. They will also have the opportunity to use the portal for networking with other stakeholders.

A first version of the matrix was tested in all AEMA member countries, with results confirming that the matrix is an innovative tool that will be highly useful in accessibility assessment. Overall, it was very well-received, and some suggestions were made to develop the matrix further to improve its user-friendliness.

A series of changes based on user feedback was carried out, and now a second round of testing is being done on the modified version. The AEMA Network thanks all of the people and organisations that participated in the testing, helping to achieve a better tool.

Featured news

4th AEMA Partners meeting takes place in Barcelona

The 3rd partner meeting

The fourth AEMA Partners meeting was held in Barcelona on 16-17 March 2016, giving partners a chance to exchange their experiences and insights. It also provided the opportunity to ensure that the next steps for AEMA are as well-coordinated and productive as possible.

Participants in the meeting first shared a rich and interesting discussion of their experiences and the results of the AEMA Maturity Matrix testings that had just occured in the partner countries. It was agreed that the matrix truly provides food for thought to organisations that otherwise might never have considered accessibility issues, and would like to review their status quo in the field.

The partners also discussed different possible ways to give recognation to adult education providers that want to improve their accessibility status, and to experts that contribute to improving accessibility issues in general.

As a highlight of the event, participants were given a sneak preview of the new portal.

Other topics discussed included the dissemination strategy and the quality assurance and evaluation. More information on the meeting can be found here

National Networking Meetings begin

The 3rd partner meeting

In parallel with the Partners meeting held on 16-17 March, it is also time for each partner to take part in the 2nd National Networking Meetings. These meetings aim to involve local stakeholders in the project, connecting them to the testings to make sure that they are involved in the next steps.

Some of the meetings have already taken place:

In Austria, the meeting took place on 24 February, hosted by education provider and AEMA Award winner, Schloss Retzhof. The head of Schloss Retzhof, Joachim Gruber, welcomed representatives of regional and national education providers as well as experts in accessible learning and accessible environments. The participants were eager to discuss topics like the difference between inclusion and accessibility, and the different areas of accessibility, amongst many others.

In Bulgaria, the meeting took place at the end of February where the tools and Maturity Matrix were explained to and discussed among adult education providers, public authorities and employment agencies.

In the UK, the first part of the meeting was organised at the beginning of March and will be completed by a digital meeting in April.

The networking meeting organised by Rytmus on 15th March in Prague, gathered adult education providers and organisations representing the interest and needs of people with disabilities, in order to discover and assess the new AEMA tools.
Read more


Other News

Festival of Learning opens for nominations

The upcoming month of May welcomes another edition of The Festival of Learning, taking place each year in May and June throughout England. It builds on 25 years of Adult Learners’ Weeks with two core aims: to celebrate learning and engage more adults in learning.

Along with the ‘Have a Go’ learning events taking place, the Festival of Learning Awards are a key highlight. The Awards showcase and celebrate individuals, organisations and best practices that demonstrate the wide-ranging and positive impact that learning has on individuals, families, communities and employers.

Anyone can get involved by making a nomination: learners, tutors, projects and employers are all possibilities that deserve recognition, and will inspire others. Nominations must be made by Friday 20 May 2016.

Read more here.

New Paths to InclUsion Network opens online knowledge centre

The New Paths to InclUsion Network offers innovative services that empower organisations to make positive changes for people with intellectual and other disabilities. Following the groundbreaking Theory U, the Network helps partners contribute to an inclusive society, share their learning, and guide others on the journey to a better life for all.

The help achieve its objectives, the Network has opened an online knowledge centre as a one-stop-shop for organisational change. It offers a complete six-module curriculum in person-centred approaches, as well as related multiplication courses. Visitors can also discover different Theory U tools, and inspiring success stories.

The Online Knowledge Centre is meant to be a "living" online space, which will grow in the next days and months, as more and more knowledge seeds are planted and experiences are collected. Be sure to visit the Centre often!

Read more here.

Highlighted good practice: ‘We are stronger together’

‘We are stronger together’

The ‘We are stronger together’ programme aims to prevent social exclusion of people with disabilities, increasing employment through hippo rehabilitation, a type of therapy using horses. It integrates physical therapy, psychotherapy and socio-therapy, and is supplemented with special educators and speech therapy.

Hippotherapy literally means "treatment with the help of the horse" from the Greek word, "hippos" meaning horse. Specially trained physical and occupational therapists use this treatment for individuals with movement dysfunction.

The individual sits on the horse and actively responds to his movement. The therapist directs the movement of the horse; analyses the client's responses; and adjusts the treatment accordingly. The movements of the horse have a positive effect on all the entire body. In fact, in ‘We are stronger together’, 80% of participants experience improved psychomotor and social skills.

The hippotherapy has clear positive effects on the patients, but not just at a physical level. The ‘We are stronger together’ programme also aims to increase employability of people with disabilities by teaching the patients to become hippotherapy trainers.

Read more here.

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